Throughout the book Anthem, by Ayn Rand, the society in which Equality lives strongly discourages individual effort. Instead, Equality is constantly told that only things done collectively with all his brothers can be good. Anything that does not include all is evil. When Equality discovers the forbidden word, “I”, he finds the joy one can experience by recognizing individual accomplishments. When Equality says “To be free, a man must be free of his brothers” he is realizing that while living in his collectivist society he was never truly free and to be truly free he must make decisions based on his own interests.
In the socialist society in which Equality lives, he is constantly told that everything must be done for the good of all mankind. He is told that true happiness should come from toil for the good of others. When Equality creates his electrical box he talks about how he did not do it for his brothers, but for himself. All his life he had been told that this was an evil action but he felt no guilt. Instead he felt happiness and pride. Although he did not realize it at the time, this was his first taste of freedom. In his life before he had essentially been living as a slave, forced to “sweat and toil” for others and never allowed to have possessions of his own.
Equality and his brothers are told from a young age that it is a sin to have preference. All things must be done in the interest of all mankind. Equality first experiences conflict with this rule before he is assigned a job. Even though he knows it is a sin, he feels no guilt when he wishes to be sent to the Home of Scholars. It seems Equality is constantly searching for a way to describe the actions or thoughts of him alone, not including others. Until he discovers the word “I” he has no way to do this. When he finally finds this “unspeakable word” it strikes deep meaning within him. Equality is finally able to grasp the idea of an individual. He now possesses...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document